Friday, June 21, 2013

Entertaining with the Fillmores

The Fillmores and entertaining aren't often thought of together, but the Fillmores actually brought a great collection of people to the White House.

This excerpt on the visit of the "Swedish Nightingale," Jenny Lind was great:
On the following morning Mademoiselle Lind waited upon President Fillmore at the White House. She was received by him with the greatest kindness and cordiality, and after spending considerably more than an hour in his society, and that of Mrs. Fillmore and her daughter, returned with an even more enthusiastic admiration of the Institutions of the States than she had previously entertained. She had been in the sodety of the man who was the legal head of one of the largest empires that the world has ever known. She had sat and chatted with him, and with his wife and daughter, — she had utterly, forgotten his position for the time, and only when she retired did she recollect that she had been in the presence of the man who controlled the most powerful and vigorous government that had ever arisen in the short l^se of a single .century. This was the first and only time, to my knowledge, that, during
her stay among us, she broke through her invariable rule of maintaining the quiet of the day in the evening of which one of her concerts took place, unbroken. If rank be measured by intellect alone, the audience (at her concert) was essentially one of the very noblest before which Jenny Lind had ever yet sung in any part of the world. Here was the placid and quiet-faced President sitting with his
family. Not far from him was Daniel Webster, his colossal brow rising boldly over the deep-set eyes which were ever and anon flashing fitfully around the scene before him. Among other celebrities present were General Cass, Henry Clay, Benton, Foote, Crittenden and other members of the Cabinet.

Jenny Lind visited Mount Vernon^ where she was personally entertained by Colonel and Mrs. Washington and " again paid her respects to the President and his family at the White House." The President and Mrs. Fillmore were again present at her second concert, as were also Henry Clay and General Scott.

^ C. G. Rosenberg, Jenny Lind in America. I8

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